“So he’s you’re boyfriend then?”
“Uh well, I wouldn’t call him my boyfriend, but like y’know we’re dating but without the title.”
As girls we’ve all been there before. Had that DREADFUL conversation with our best friends, or family, trying to explain that the guy we’re “dating,” we’re not really dating. We tell them he’s our boyfriend-not-boyfriend.
And then comes this look….
He’s the indecisive guy that doesn’t know if he really wants to date you, or just have you there as an option. It’s a tough situation because if you guys stop “dating,” do you still call him your ex? They become this sort of figment of a relationship you’re unsure if you ever really had.
A good friend of mine dealt with the boyfriend-not-boyfriend. She met him, they went out on a few dates, he sent her lovely good morning and good night messages, whispered her sweet nothings, and it turns out they were just that. Nothing. She spent months on end trying to decipher what she did wrong, why he wouldn’t commit. Made excuses for him and tried to muster up every possible idea as to why he wouldn’t commit. It turned out, there really wasn’t one.
How to Identify the Boyfriend-Not-Boyfriend
Before getting into the how’s and why’s and the underlying meaning of this kind of a guy, first it’s important to know what warning signs you should be watching out for.
- You’ve “been” with them for over 4 months.If four months of going out on dates, talking or acting like a couple, or being together in any sexual manner has been happening and he still hasn’t made things official, I can guarantee you he’s not going to EVER make things official and will always remain in this state of the almost there, but not quite.
- When unfamiliar people ask if you guys are together- you say yes. Let’s face it, it’s a hell of a lot easier telling people who don’t genuinely care about your complicated love life, that you guys are dating instead of boring them with incessant talk about the situation. If this is the case he’s you’re definitely with the indecisive guy who won’t commit.
- You don’t give WELL WORTH guys a chance out of hope for having the boyfriend-not boyfriend make things official. This is a BIG one! If you’re noticeably turning other guys down who aren’t serial killers, or have bad intentions because you want the boyfriend-not-boyfriend to make things official, this is a bad sign and you’re well into the stage of being with the indecisive guy who is and most likely forever will be unwilling to commit. But this doesn’t mean that you have to put up with it!
- He won’t let you end the horrible cycle of being with him. You’ve found yourself FINALLY listening to the advice of everyone around you, so you decide to talk to him and put an end to the situation. What does he do? Make things official? HA not a chance! He makes up a bullshit excuse about not being ready for a relationship, or he’s scared to commit, or that labels complicate things. Yet ANOTHER detrimental sign you’re with the boyfriend-not-boyfriend.
But why is there this common phenomena of the boyfriend-not-boyfriend? With the heart of my good friend mentioned earlier in mind, I took a look into this concept. I always hear people say, myself included, that in previous generations, relationships were more common than today. People don’t know how to be in a committed relationship. They want someone to cuddle when it gets cold out, but that’s about it. They don’t want all the emotions that come along with it. BUT WHY? Commitment. After doing research I discovered it all comes down to the slowly declining desire for men to commit.
The interdependence theory, explains that both men and women are a lot less likely to settle down as a result of modern society, and the social changes that build from this. More specifically, the rise of feminism and woman empowerment. This sense of empowerment lessens the dependence women place upon men.
The psychologist, Jeremy Nicholson writing for Psychology Today goes deeper to say,
Men have had to cope with these social changes, too. As women become more focused elsewhere, men face higher potential costs and threats in committed relationships, particularly regarding divorce, child support, and domestic behaviour. For some men, modern relationships offer fewer benefits and higher costs, resulting in less motivation to commit. Such men may begin to explore relationship alternatives. As other researchers note, some men choose to meet their sexual and emotional needs with pornography and video games. Others may pursue multiple noncommittal relationships and friends-with-benefits, rather than risk the costs of deeper commitments.
What do you do?
Does this mean that as women we should abandon our hopes of finding a man who is willing to put in the same amount of effort as we are? Does this mean that there should be one giver and one taker of the relationship? No. The give and take in a relationship should always be 50/50. So when you have a man that doesn’t want to commit, according to the interdependence theory, this simply means, that he isn’t willing to bring as much to the table as you are, or he fears that he won’t be able to bring as much as the female will causing him to feel undermined.
My advice to you? Leave. No explanations. Stop letting him be the boyfriend-not-boyfriend and end things. You don’t want to be with a commitaphobe . If he doesn’t want to commit don’t use your energy to try and change his inner being. Instead use it to focus on yourself, and eventually you will find true raw romance.
What are your thoughts on the decline of commitment today? Do you agree, disagree? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!